Vikings, TJ Hockenson Extension Finally Done

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

The TJ Hockenson extension is finally done. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot longer than either side had hoped, entering the offseason. But on Thursday morning, the Minnesota Vikings announced what we had all been waiting for.

TJ’s new deal is worth 4 years and a whopping $66 million guaranteed (Dianna Russini – The Athletic), which is by far the most of any tight end in the NFL. George Kittle is 2nd, with $40 million. Hockenson’s new AAV, $17.13 million per season, is also tops in the league at his position.

TJ Hockenson extension comes after huge season

Hockenson has been one of the most talented tight ends in the league, since being drafted by the Detroit Lions no. 8 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he reached another level after being traded to the Vikings seven games into the 2022 season.

A lot of that is credit to Kirk Cousins’ insistence on getting TJ the ball. Hockenson averaged 6.1 targets per game while in Detroit. That increased to 8.6 targets per game, with the Vikings. When the dust settled, 2022 was by far the best season of Hockenson’s young career. The 26-year-old recorded highs in receptions (86), targets (129), yards (914) and tied his career mark for touchdowns (6).

4 yr4 yrDET47287186206815
1 yr1 yrMIN1086605193
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2023.

TJ Hockenson extension coincides with return to practice

Hockenson sat out for much of training camp, including both joint practices (4 total days) and all three preseason games. He and the Vikings attributed the absence to an ear infection, early on. That moved to “lower back pain” when pressed by reporters a couple weeks later.

Coincidentally, TJ is now feeling better and, according to head coach Kevin O’Connell, the former Iowa Hawkeye was pretty much a full-go at practice today, the same day his extension was finally finished up.

Could Justin Jefferson extension be next?

Many believe Hockenson’s deal being delayed is what has been holding up extension talks with his teammate, Justin Jefferson, who many thought would be the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league, by now. But just like with Hockenson, the path to extending JJ has dragged on much longer than anyone thought it would.

Now that TJ’s extension is complete, though, I’d honestly be surprised if Jefferson’s isn’t done before he takes the field in Tampa Bay on September 10.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

Mentioned in this article:

More About: